Bob and Jalena Bradley’s support for UGA runs strong and deep. Even when COVID-19 turned the world on its head, that support never wavered. In fact, it increased.
For Jalena (ABJ ’96), a Georgia native and graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, pride for UGA comes naturally. Her husband, Bob, had to grow into Georgia fandom: he grew up in Florida and attended Quincy University in Illinois, where he was a student-athlete on the baseball team.
Upon returning to Florida following graduation, Bob met Jalena, who had relocated there following her time at UGA. Bob began to discover the extent of Jalena’s fandom when, as he was trying to plan a date for the two of them at Epcot Park in Orlando, Jalena responded, “It’s Saturday. We’re watching the Dawgs!”
Now married with two daughters, Taylor and Abby, many Saturdays have passed for the Bradleys, all spent the same way: if the Dawgs are playing, they’re watching, without fail. Bob has even dubbed himself “the biggest die-hard non-UGA-graduate fan you’ll ever meet.”
That support extends beyond game day. In 2018, the Bradleys pledged $1 million to the Georgia Excellence Fund, which supports UGA Athletics Association facilities projects. That considerable investment in the improvement of student-athletes’ educational experiences was followed up by another gift in July 2020.
When many were re-evaluating so much in their lives—to say nothing of their charitable giving—the Bradleys’ support was unshaken.
“We just want to help UGA gain momentum during this very challenging time,” said Bob. “When we talked about giving back to the University, we felt compelled to give a gift that helps the rest of UGA’s supporters to jump in and help out, too. We want UGA to be able to continue in the direction that they are headed, and not have to stop anything or slow the momentum down.”
The Bradley’s passionate support comes from experiences that have impacted their personal lives. Now retired from his work in the human capital and staffing business, Bob claims that much of his professional success stems from lessons he learned while he was an athlete himself.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for athletics,” said Bob. “I can’t be more thankful for the experiences and opportunities baseball gave me.”
Bob and Jalena are also first-generation college graduates. As they express feelings of gratitude for their current position, they look back on their humble beginnings and consider how they can affect positive change in the lives of others.
“I came from a low-income family, and if I didn’t get a baseball scholarship – I wouldn’t have been able to go to college,” Bob said. “Being able to give back to a school that we are so passionate about, and being able to give back to something like sports that gave us so much is really important.”